I Believe in Buckling Up

Alex - North Augusta, South Carolina
Entered on May 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I am 15 and I have recently started driving on my own. Each morning when I walk out of the front door to go to school, I hear the same thing from my parents, “Drive carefully, and call us when you get to school.” It’s a reasonable request, and I gladly do it (even though I’ve forgotten a couple of times). In fact, I’m glad my parents care enough about my well-being to tell me this everyday. One thing I never hear though is “Buckle up.”

I drive a 1973 Volkswagen Beetle. It’s pretty sweet. My Beetle is a light, almost baby blue, and it has gold steering wheel cover. Besides some of the spiteful comments concerning me and my car, I still love to drive it. As a parent, I can see how it would be troubling to have a 15 year old driving around today’s streets in a car that was made when the only safety feature was the driver’s reaction time. But I feel pride in the fact that my parents trust me enough to let me drive this car and never have to say “Buckle up.”

Since I’ve been able to drive on my own, a whole new world of opportunity has opened up for me. I get to go where I want, when I want (as long as it’s before eight p.m., and I ask my parents). But these new driving privileges have also opened up a whole new world of responsibilities. Before leaving I have to check the mirrors (all two of them), take off the parking brake, and make sure not to hit the mailbox. While driving I have to pay attention (this maybe the hardest thing of all). Before getting out of my car I have to turn off the lights, turn off the radio, lock the door, and make sure to take the keys out of the ignition. I often forget to do one or two of these things. But the one thing I never forget to do is buckle up.

I believe in being responsible. It doesn’t matter if the responsibility is as small as not locking the keys in the car or as large as running a country. I admit that I am repeatedly irresponsible. Frequently, I find myself checking my Facebook instead of finishing the essay that’s due next Friday. Whenever this happens, I try to stop and correct myself.

As my life moves on and I get new, larger responsibilities, I will have to prevent my mind from wondering more often. I know learning this lesson is a crucial part of life. Hopefully, other kids my age will realize this. In closing I will leave you with this piece of advice: Always buckle up because life can be a very bumpy road.